At The Riverside Inn, our chefs are involved in every step of each meal; from menu creation, to procuring fresh produce from hand-selected local artisans like Sue Kurta of Boss Mouse Cheese, to the mouth-watering execution of each and every menu item. The kitchen crew works tirelessly to ensure each dish is as close to perfection as possible when it arrives at your table. Working with purveyors like Boss Mouse Cheese, whose care and passion for the craft is apparent, makes our end result all the more successful. We are proud to offer our patrons her traditionally-made smoked cheddar and popular smoked butter made wholly from local ingredients like Moomers milk.
“Cheddar is my absolute desert island cheese,” says Sue sharing how the cheddaring process is complicated (probably why very few people make it), but that if you like cheese, you like cheddar. And the cheddar that the Riverside offers? Boss Mouse’s best: the 6-month-aged medium cheddar.
Though Boss Mouse Cheese is now one of Northern Michigan’s local favorites, it wasn’t that long ago that Sue was living and working in New York City’s high-powered corporate world. Cheese making was just a hobby. “It all stems from my love of cooking,” says Sue. But unlike her other pastry and sour dough forays, cheese making’s intimacy with farming and animals, coupled with the microbiology and intricacies in cheese styles, spoke to her self-described “punk/farm girl” sensibilities.
From workshops in Vermont, to a 3-month apprenticeship on an organic goat farm in rural Maine, Sue’s hobby grew into a full-fledged passion and when the opportunity came to relocate to Northern Michigan, she jumped at it. She bought a dairy farm in Kingsley and became licensed to sell her cheese at farmers’ markets. Boss Mouse Cheese was just too good to stay in relative obscurity, and demand led Sue to quit her job in 2014 to make cheese full time for restaurants, markets, and breweries around the state.
The Riverside’s partnership with Boss Mouse Cheese, epitomized by Chef Pete and Chef Andy’s appreciation of cheese and their desire to learn more from a full-blown cheese maker, is special, says Sue. “They’ll ask me, ‘Hey, what’s tasting great?’ And that is how you should shop. Every plate at the Riverside is a literal taste of Northern Michigan. Everything on that plate tells a story.”
Though Boss Mouse Cheese may be a relatively small producer, we think their cheddar (and Sweet Swiss and Montasio) could stand up to any other larger producer. Next time you're in, make sure to try our popular Charcuterie plate which features local favorites Idyll Farms Chevre, Leelanau Cheese Raclette and Boss Mouse Cheese Cheddar. We're confident once you try it, you'll agree who's cheddar is better.